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Why are completion percentages for single player campaigns so low?

Sentenza

Member
Having more games than free time make people picky on what they decide to stick all the way through the end.

Sometimes it’s not even a matter of not liking the game. You play it, you enjoy it up to a point, but you also say “Yeah, I had enough of this for now. I’ll move to something else”.
 

Relique

Gold Member
This is an interesting answer. So... why buy video games in the first place, if you have no intention on completing them (or at least trying to)?

It's not like it's a secret that video games require some amount of time investment.

Of course, people can spend their money however they want. But if I buy something, I sure intend to use it or (in the case of a consumable) consume it.
Just wanted a few more reason from previous answers.
- Longer games have naturally lower completion times because interest can fizzle out even if the game quality is high. From your list, Red Dead 2 is one of my favorite games but even I was ready for it to be over by the end. After a certain point in the story it felt like they added a mini-sequel on top of an already long game. I am sort of going through this with Elden Ring. I will complete it but at 85 hours I want to know how the story ends and move on.
- People have short memories. Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to put it aside for a while. When you come back you forgot what the hell you were doing or how to play. Imagine 3 months away from Witcher 3 and now you staring at quest log full of half completed quests, most of which you can't remember.
- Double dipping. Sometimes you played a game multiple times on a different platform but you buy it on PC to have the entire collection on hand if you ever wish to come back. You might even boot those up for a few minutes to see how it performs compared to the platform you played it on. For me Bioshock, Tomb Raider, Witcher 3, and Yakuza 0, and God of War all fall in this category. I played them on PS3 and PS4 but bought those for my PC collection.
- A game doesn't grab you despite being a good game.
People like to fill their STEAM library with cheap games they never play.
Basically this. I picked up so many games in bundles that I may have messed around with but had no intention of completing.
 
Having more games than free time make people picky on what they decide to stick all the way through the end.

Sometimes it’s not even a matter of not liking the game. You play it, you enjoy it up to a point, but you also say “Yeah, I had enough of this for now. I’ll move to something else”.
Fair. This has come up a couple of times already, and it's a reasonable point. I guess it's not necessarily my mentality, but I can understand it.

Just wanted a few more reason from previous answers.
- Longer games have naturally lower completion times because interest can fizzle out even if the game quality is high. From your list, Red Dead 2 is one of my favorite games but even I was ready for it to be over by the end. After a certain point in the story it felt like they added a mini-sequel on top of an already long game. I am sort of going through this with Elden Ring. I will complete it but at 85 hours I want to know how the story ends and move on.
- People have short memories. Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to put it aside for a while. When you come back you forgot what the hell you were doing or how to play. Imagine 3 months away from Witcher 3 and now you staring at quest log full of half completed quests, most of which you can't remember.
- Double dipping. Sometimes you played a game multiple times on a different platform but you buy it on PC to have the entire collection on hand if you ever wish to come back. You might even boot those up for a few minutes to see how it performs compared to the platform you played it on. For me Bioshock, Tomb Raider, Witcher 3, and Yakuza 0, and God of War all fall in this category. I played them on PS3 and PS4 but bought those for my PC collection.
- A game doesn't grab you despite being a good game.

Basically this. I picked up so many games in bundles that I may have messed around with but had no intention of completing.
Very good post.

I guess I rarely ever buy stuff in "bundles" -- I mostly buy individual games that I know I will for sure play -- if not immediately, then in the near future. I have a Steam backlog just like everyone else, but I sure plan to play every single game in that backlog.
 

AmuroChan

Member
A lot of these games eventually go on services like PS+, XBL Gold, EGS, Gamepass, etc. Then you get an influx of people that give these games a try and obviously most of them won't actually end up playing these games to completion.
 
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Belthazar

Member
1. Game gets on sale for like 80% off.
2. Customer buys the game on impulse
3. Customer launches the game
4. Customer either dislikes it or just says "neat, I'll get back to it eventually" and never do.
 
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Fredrik

Gold Member
I can only go by myself, I play lots of games and finish very few.

Reason 1: I get bored.

Reason 2: I like another game more.

Reason 3: Too difficult to reach the end.

Reason 4: Too big in size and/or content to reach the end before number 1 or 2 happen. Plus finishing the game might not be important for my enjoyment of the game, if it’s a RPG I might start over with another character build or drift off doing side quests, eventually number 1 or 2 happen, then I return again awhile later, new playthrough, new character, rinse and repeat. This is me with Skyrim for example. And No Man’s Sky is about the same. Impossible games to finish, still love them with all my heart.
 

Rest

All these years later I still chuckle at what a fucking moron that guy is.
"I don't care about 'finishing' the hike. Hikes are for fun. I only hike half of the trail and turn right around and go to the next one."
"I don't care about 'finishing' my meal at a restaurant. Food is for fun. I only eat about half of my meal and throw the rest out."
"I don't care about 'finishing' a movie at the cinema. Movies are for fun. I only watch half the movie then just walk out of the cinema."
The only one of those that makes sense is the last one. You've never gone for a walk and gotten tired? You've never been full and stopped eating?
Just because a development team came up with more things than a player has time or inclination to do doesn't mean that players are bound to go through that content. Forcing ones self to keep playing after a game's fun has worn off would leave most people with a worse experience in the end than a better one if they stopped enjoying the game and became tired of it. Playing to the extent that you can have fun with a game is the more effective way to enjoy it.

I've never picked up a game and thought anything about fighting the last boss or doing whatever the last gameplay task is, and I don't think I'm unique in that. The only thing I care about when I buy a game is having fun with it. That is all I want out of a game, that is my only "goal."
 
The only one of those that makes sense is the last one. You've never gone for a walk and gotten tired?
No. I plan my hikes per my stamina and motivation for that day. If I want a leisurely 5-mile hike, I'm not gonna choose a 15-mile, high- altitude trail. But once I go on the leisurely 5-mile hike, I'm gonna complete it.
You've never been full and stopped eating?
Whether it's at the restaurant, or I end up taking some of it home, I still finish the entire meal at some point.
Just because a development team came up with more things than a player has time or inclination to do doesn't mean that players are bound to go through that content.
That's often the case with extra content (especially in an open world game), but this conversation is specifically about just the main campaign.

Forcing ones self to keep playing after a game's fun has worn off would leave most people with a worse experience in the end than a better one if they stopped enjoying the game and became tired of it.
If you're having fun with the game, then by definition you're not forcing yourself.

Playing to the extent that you can have fun with a game is the more effective way to enjoy it.

I've never picked up a game and thought anything about fighting the last boss or doing whatever the last gameplay task is, and I don't think I'm unique in that.
Of course you're not unique in that; I wonder how many people fall into that category.

The only thing I care about when I buy a game is having fun with it. That is all I want out of a game, that is my only "goal."
Fair, and ultimately this is the only thing that matters. Do know that I'm just asking questions out of curiosity and I'm not prescribing how you -- or anyone for that matter -- should play video games.

Everybody's different in what they're trying to get out of video games:
(1) For some people, it's just play a bit, take in the world and the mechanics, then move on to the next game
(2) For some people, it's when the credits roll after the main campaign
(3) For some people, it's 100% task completion per the game's completion tracker
(4) For some people, it's getting the Platinum Trophy/all Achievements
(5) For some people, it's becoming a true master at the game and perform spectacular feats -- speedrun, play with certain challenges (e.g., no weapon upgrades, no power-ups in Mario, etc), max out all the party members in their RPG, etc.

For every game I've played, I've fallen into every category except #1. I always end up enjoying the game enough that at a minimum, I want to see the credits roll.
 

poppabk

Member
To me it seems that not beating the game means people are not having fun. All of the examples i gave are single player campaigns with a defined "end goal." They're not, say, fighting games or racing games that have repetitive gameplay with no discretely defined "end goal."

Imagine if I applied this rationale to any other random activity in life:

"I don't care about 'finishing' the hike. Hikes are for fun. I only hike half of the trail and turn right around and go to the next one."
"I don't care about 'finishing' my meal at a restaurant. Food is for fun. I only eat about half of my meal and throw the rest out."
"I don't care about 'finishing' a movie at the cinema. Movies are for fun. I only watch half the movie then just walk out of the cinema."

Etc...
Other than the movie one, those are all perfectly normal things. Games suffer from the necessity of ramping up of difficulty and complexity of mechanics which makes them very difficult to play casually.
 

Allandor

Member
Quite easy to explain. Not everything is something for everyone. If it isn't something that can hold your attention you probably won't torchure yourself through it.
And at this point you might (might because of services or just lending a game) already have bought the game (e.g. because it was popular or cheap, ...).

Sometimes it (e.g. in case of the Witcher) it is time that is missing. I totally love this game, but it was just to long. After 3 years (or 4) I finally completed it, but I have yet not finished the last addon. Problem with such games is, that they are to long and you won't remember everything of the story when reaching the end. In this long time interests change and I play something else until returning to that game.


My son and I also never finished spider man. Yes it is a good game but there are also better things to do or play.
Horizon zero dawn, lost interest after a few hours. I play assassin's Creed (well Valhalla was really disappointing) and elex but somehow in horizon it never clicked. So I never finished it.
 
who cares
More than 30% is pretty high for a singleplayer game

Bioshock Infinite for having some multiverse stuff that not everyone may get invested

Resident Evil 2 for being scary (and puzzles, people are dumb)

Yakuza 0, Witcher 3 and RDR 2 are HUGE games with pacing issues
Yakuza 0 is not huge lol it pretty small tiny when compare with Witcher 3 & RDR2
 

Hugare

Member
who cares

Yakuza 0 is not huge lol it pretty small tiny when compare with Witcher 3 & RDR2
It averages at 31h, so it can be considered pretty big, imo


But the cutscene ratio is insane. At least 10h of it you are looking at some cutscene.

Plus tons of non voiced dialogue

And I love the game, but its pacing sucks, making it look like its bigger than it really is
 
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TheSHEEEP

Gold Member
I believe it's because of Steam sales. Sometimes people get the games for dirty cheap, fire the game once and never play again.
Mostly this.

You can't just look at "all owners" of a game and check the percentages, cause tons of people never play the games that they own.
You also can't just look at "all players" of a game and check the percentages, cause tons of people play a game once or twice, realize it's not for them and stop.

The only statistic that actually tells you something is looking at "all players that played a significant amount of time", because only those can be considered "actual" players of the game, IMO.
If the finishing percentage of those is super low, then that might speak to an issue in the game.
 
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It averages at 31h, so it can be considered pretty big, imo


But the cutscene ratio is insane. At least 10h of it you are looking at some cutscene.

Plus tons of non voiced dialogue

And I love the game, but its pacing sucks, making it look like its bigger than it really is
You talking bout it story playtime wile i was referring to the game world size it map lol
 
Personally, my completion percentage sucks cause games are long and there's a ton of games to play.
Gamers are older now, and can easily afford any game they're interested in, which leads to too much to play.
I tend to play 20-40 hours with a completionist mindset (doing all side missions, etc) but tend to drop off to play something else, and tell myself I'll get back to it.
I still have to complete god of war 2018, tlou2, ghost of tsushima, returnal, etc. But I got the plat for Chorvs, Ratchet, Astro, miles morales.
 
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arealhumanbean

Neo Member
Games are just too long. Who has the time to finish fucking Witcher 3? Only some kind of no-lifes and children. No offense, but it's the truth. Right now I'm checking every game on HowLongToBeat.com, if it's 30+ hours I'm not buying it. I don't give a fuck about gaming versions of soap opera.
 

nikos

Member
I don’t finish 9/10 single player games I buy, even if they’re short. I like to experience different games. Not finishing them doesn’t bother me anymore.

On the other hand, I have no problem putting hundreds of hours into multiplayer games. For me, gaming has become more about playing with friends, or cooperating with/competing against others.
 
I get bored of most campaigns roughly at the 15 hour mark. If a games story goes longer than that good chance I might drop. A game needs to be super engaging in other aspects for me to finish the story. Even a game that perfected the cinematic genre as well as TLOU2 gets boring after a while since the gameplay loop is samey and the reward is the next cut scene...finished it but that the pinnacle of the genre...tomb raider got no chance.
 
As is the case with most of my friends, they have money but no free time because of their jobs. They want to be part of the conversation, so they buy the big game every two weeks, play it for 10-15 hours, and then move on to the next AAA game, only committing to finish what they feel is a 10/10.

I used to be like this but set very strict backlog rules for myself. I end up just not playing as many games as I used to but my completion rate is much higher these days.
 
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Holammer

Member
I believe it's because of Steam sales. Sometimes people get the games for dirty cheap, fire the game once and never play again.

On PlayStation the completion percentages are much higher, seeing the official percentages on the trophies.

On websites like PSN Profiles it's even higher, but that's because it's a site focused on people who cares about completion and trophies.
Yes, PSN profiles is a crazy biased sample. Interestingly it even lists the amount of players registered for each game and they have 38.2k registered owners for Elden Ring.
Clearly the site attracts achievement hunters and completionists, as seen with the completion rate and platinum %ages
52% complete, 36.6% platinum compared with Steams 14.8% & 5.8%

That's 38k selected users vs the entire enchilada with 15'ish million worth of users.
 
Wow, seriously? I finish at best a third of the shows I start. Especially with all the crap Netflix shits out now.
Yeah, precisely because of what you mentioned; Netflix (and other streaming services) just have a lot of garbage. I don't have all the time in the world to invest in garbage only to drop it part of the way through.

It's the same with games, really. I was big into Assassin's Creed but then stopped after Syndicate. I never bought any of the new ones (Origins, Odyssey, Valhalla...) because from reviews, gameplay footage, GAF opinions from people I trust, etc... I could tell that I'd be wasting my time with those games.
 

Hezekiah

Banned
Makes it impressive that TLOU2, Ghost of Tsushima and Spider-mans were so high

  • Spider-Man Miles Morales - 66%
  • The Last of Us Part II – 60.7%
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man – 50.8%
  • Ghost of Tsushima – 50.2%
  • God of War – 50.2%
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – 50.3%
  • Detroit: Become Human – 48.6%
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake – 39.5%
  • Days Gone – 34.7%
  • Horizon Zero Dawn – 34.1%
  • Death Stranding – 28.6%
  • Ratchet & Clank (2016) – 27%
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure – 15.1%
Yeah I dunno how people's can say 30% is a huge completion rate when there are games with much higher percentages.
 

Hezekiah

Banned
Games are just too long. Who has the time to finish fucking Witcher 3? Only some kind of no-lifes and children. No offense, but it's the truth. Right now I'm checking every game on HowLongToBeat.com, if it's 30+ hours I'm not buying it. I don't give a fuck about gaming versions of soap opera.
Yeah still haven't completed it, and now I've taken a break from it after getting a bit bored.
 
How do you reconcile this with so many games being sequels?

I think marketing and FOMO are stronger influences than most people realize.

Plus I think most people quit games prematurely because it's just barely not interesting enough to continue.

For example, if someone only plays 10 hours of God of War 2018, the first 7 - 8 hours are entertaining enough and hours 9 and 10 are just barely treading water in terms of entertainment value. The proposition of hour 11 is juuust not interesting enough to continue.

So a percentage of those people are like "I enjoyed GoW 2018 and this one looks even better"...without realizing it's the same trap.

Also, swap out GoW 2018 with a worse single player game if anyone finds that triggering.
 
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